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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INCREASING THE COMPETITIVE POSITION OF U.S. SOYBEANS IN GLOBAL MARKETS THROUGH GENETIC DIVERSITY AND PLANT BREEDING

Location: Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research

Title: Soybean fatty acid desaturase pathway: reponses to temperature changes and pathogen infection

Author
item Upchurch, Robert

Submitted to: Intech
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2011
Publication Date: November 12, 2011
Citation: Upchurch, R.G. 2011. Soybean fatty acid desaturase pathway: reponses to temperature changes and pathogen infection. Pp. 113-128. In D. Krezhova (ed.) Soybean-genetics and novel techniques for yield enhancement. InTech Open Access Press. Vienna, Austria. 2011.

Interpretive Summary: Soybean stearoyl-acyl carrier protein-desaturase, omega-6 desaturase, and omega-3 fatty acid desaturase genes encode enzymes that synthesize C18 fatty acids in plant tissues. These genes are present as three families with multiple members in the soybean genome because through evolution the soybean genome has been duplicated. The soybean genome possesses tissue-specific alleles for all three of these major desaturase enzymes. The occurrence of seed-specific alleles of these genes provides for the accommodation of the great increase in lipid biosynthesis that occurs as the developing soybean seed produce storage lipid reserves. The relative levels of unsaturated fatty acids in soybean can change in response to environmental temperature changes, infection by pathogens, other stresses, and the intervention of humans (geneticists). This is important because fatty acids and fatty acid-derived signals activate components of pathogen defense pathways. Current evidence indicates that fatty acid desaturases in soybean are regulated by three mechanisms: transcription control, changes in enzyme stability, and changes in enzyme activity. Analysis of suspected genes and gene-flanking regions using the Williams 82 soybean database will greatly expand our knowledge of soybean gene regulatory sequences and their transcription complexes. Continued development of soybean SNP markers, mapping and dissection of Quantitative Trait Loci and gene expression analysis will lead to the discovery of new genes that encode fatty acid biosynthesis and regulation, and genes required for adaptation to environmental stresses, and may uncover potential interactions among these genes.

Technical Abstract: Stearoyl-acyl carrier protein-desaturase, omega-6 desaturase, and omega-3 fatty acid desaturase genes are present as multiple copies in the soybean genome as expected given the evidence from cytogenetics, genetic mapping, and genomic sequencing that soybean is a paleopolyploid species that underwent at least two major genome duplications. The soybean genome possesses tissue-specific alleles for all three of these major C18 desaturase enzymes that are involved in the biosynthesis of triacylglycerols. The occurrence of seed-specific alleles of these genes provides for the accommodation of the great increase in lipid biosynthesis that occurs as the developing soybean seed produce storage lipid reserves. The C18 fatty acid composition (that is the relative levels of unsaturated fatty acids in tissue lipids) of soybean and other plants can change in response to environmental temperature changes (a global climate change factor), infection by pathogens, other stresses, and the intervention of humans (geneticists). This is important because fatty acids and fatty acid-derived signals activate components of pathogen defense pathways. Current evidence indicates that fatty acid desaturases in soybean are regulated by mechanisms of transcription control, post-translational enzyme stability, and enzyme activity modulation. Genomic analysis of gene loci and gene flanking regions using the Williams 82 soybean genome database and gene expression analyses will greatly expand our knowledge of soybean gene regulatory sequences and their interaction with transcription complexes. Continued development of soybean SNP markers, mapping and dissection of Quantitative Trait Loci and gene silencing analyses will lead to the discovery of new genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and regulation, abiotic and biotic stress acclimation, and will help uncover potential epigenetic interactions among them.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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